Who Is At Risk For Asthma
Asthma affects people of all ages, but it often starts during childhood. Certain factors can raise your risk of having asthma:
- Being exposed to secondhand smoke when your mother is pregnant with you or when you are a small child
- Being exposed to certain substances at work, such as chemical irritants or industrial dusts
- Genetics and family history. You are more likely to have asthma if one of your parents has it, especially if it’s your mother.
- Race or ethnicity. Black and African Americans and Puerto Ricans are at higher risk of asthma than people of other races or ethnicities.
- Having other medical conditions such as allergies and obesity
- Often having viral respiratory infections as a young child
- Sex. In children, asthma is more common in boys. In teens and adults, it is more common in women.
Medical History And Physical Exam
Your doctor will ask about your risk factors for asthma and your symptoms. They may ask also about any known allergies. This includes how often symptoms occur, what seems to trigger your symptoms, when or where symptoms occur, and if your symptoms wake you up at night.
During the physical exam, your doctor may:
- Listen to your breathing and look for symptoms of asthma
- Look for allergic skin conditions, such as eczema
Follow The Recommendations Below To Reduce Your Chance Of An Asthma Attack While Cleaning Follow Recommendations For Cleaning Your Home And In Your Facility
- If you have asthma:
- Ask an adult without asthma to clean and disinfect surfaces and objects for you.
- Stay in another room when cleaners or disinfectants are being used and right after their use.
- Use cleaning agents and disinfectant only when necessary. In routine situations, high-touch surfaces and objects might be cleaned effectively with soap and water.
- Make a list of the urgent care or health facilities near you that provides nebulizer/asthma treatments and keep it close to your phone.
- If you have an asthma attack, move away from the trigger, such as the cleaning agent or disinfectant or the area that was disinfected. Follow your Asthma Action Plan. Call 911 for medical emergencies.
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When To Contact A Doctor
Medical complications of asthma can be quite severe, especially if a person finds it hard to manage their condition.
Asthma is under control if the medication a person is taking prevents or minimizes the symptoms. When this is the case, then:
- the condition does not cause a person to miss school or work
- symptoms do not prevent a person from being active or doing exercise
- a person makes minimal visits to the emergency room or requires little urgent care
- a person uses an emergency inhaler less than twice per week
- symptoms do not disturb a persons sleep more than twice per month
People who experience any of these issues should contact a healthcare professional, who might suggest a change in medication.
It is also important to seek emergency medical care if a prescribed asthma medication, such as a rescue inhaler, does not reduce the symptoms of an asthma attack.
A person should call 911 immediately or go to the nearest emergency room if someone with asthma loses consciousness or is unable to breathe.
In the United States, asthma affects Black, Hispanic, and American Indian and Alaska Native people more commonly than it does white people. They may also find it more challenging to manage their asthma symptoms, which can lead to severe complications.
Data from 2018 show the following:
Diagnosing Asthma In Older People
Older people are more likely to have other lung diseases that also cause shortness of breath , so doctors have to determine how much of the person’s breathing difficulty is related to asthma and reversible with the appropriate anti-asthma therapy. Often, in these people diagnosis involves a brief trial of drugs that are used to treat asthma to see whether the person’s condition improves.
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Conditions That Are Not Covered Under Fmla
The FMLA doesn’t definitively state that particular illness or diseases are always, or never, serious health condition. Instead, the facts of each situation must be considered on their own. After all, one person’s bout with bronchitis might result in a missed day of work and some coughing another person’s might result in an extended hospital stay for pneumonia. In this case, the first person would not have a serious health condition, but the second would.
Nonetheless, there are certain ailments that don’t typically qualify as serious health conditions, including:
- colds and flu
- upset stomachs and minor ulcers
Treatment Of Severe Asthma
There is no single treatment or medication solution. Everyone is affected differently and what works well for one person may have no effect on another. The same medications may be prescribed as someone who has a milder asthma, but at a much higher dose.
Treatment of severe asthma focuses on trying to control the symptoms. Youll be prescribed medication and treatment to manage the inflammation in your airways and prevent lung damage. Youll also be advised to reduce the risk of coming into contact with asthma triggers as much as possible, as this will reduce your risk of having a severe asthma attack.
As a starting point, everyone with asthma is prescribed:
- A reliever inhaler usually blue, this inhaler is used to provide relief when you need it and should be carried with you at all times.
- A preventer inhaler often brown, contains corticosteroids that help to reduce swelling and inflammation in the airways. This needs to be taken every day, as prescribed by your doctor.
If youre diagnosed with severe asthma, you should speak to your doctor about a referral to a specialist clinic. While some primary care surgeries have dedicated asthma nurses that can offer specialist support.
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Global Alliance Against Chronic Respiratory Diseases
The Global Alliance against Chronic Respiratory Diseases contributes to WHOs work to prevent and control chronic respiratory diseases. GARD is a voluntary alliance of national and international organizations and agencies from many countries committed to the vision of a world where all people breathe freely.
What Causes An Asthma Attack
An asthma attack can happen when you are exposed to asthma triggers. Your asthma triggers can be very different from someone elses asthma triggers. Know your triggers and learn how to avoid them. Watch out for an attack when you cant avoid your triggers. Some of the most common triggers are tobacco smoke, dust mites, outdoor air pollution, cockroach allergen, pets, mold, smoke from burning wood or grass, and infections like flu.
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Personal Asthma Action Plan
As part of your initial assessment, you should be encouraged to draw up a personal asthma action plan with your GP or asthma nurse.
If you’ve been admitted to hospital because of an asthma attack, you should be offered an action plan before you go home.
The action plan should include information about your asthma medicines, and will help you recognise when your symptoms are getting worse and what steps to take. You should also be given information about what to do if you have an asthma attack.
Your personal asthma action plan should be reviewed with your GP or asthma nurse at least once a year, or more frequently if your symptoms are severe.
As part of your asthma plan, you may be given a peak flow meter. This will give you another way of monitoring your asthma, rather than relying only on symptoms, so you can recognise deterioration earlier and take appropriate steps.
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What Is An Asthma Attack
An asthma attack is the episode in which bands of muscle around the airways are triggered to tighten. This tightening is called bronchospasm. During the attack, the lining of the airways becomes swollen or inflamed, and the cells lining the airways make more and thicker mucus than normal.
All of these things — bronchospasm, inflammation, and mucus production — cause symptoms such as trouble breathing, wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and trouble with normal daily activities.
Other symptoms of an asthma attack include:
- Severe wheezing when breathing both in and out
- Coughing that won’t stop
- Feelings of anxiety or panic
- Pale, sweaty face
- Blue lips or fingernails
An asthma attack can get worse quickly, so it’s important to treat these symptoms right away.
Without immediate treatment, such as with your asthma inhaler or bronchodilator, it will become harder to breathe. If you use a peak flow meter at this time, the reading will probably be less than 50% of your usual or normal peak flow reading.. Many asthma action plans suggest interventions starting at 80% of normal.
As your lungs continue to tighten, you wonât be able to use the peak flow meter at all. Your lungs will tighten so there is not enough air movement to make wheezing. You need to go to a hospital right away. Unfortunately, some people think that the disappearance of wheezing is a sign of improvement and donât get emergency care.
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How Is Asthma Treated
Take your medicine exactly as your doctor tells you and stay away from things that can trigger an attack to control your asthma.
Everyone with asthma does not take the same medicine.
You can breathe in some medicines and take other medicines as a pill. Asthma medicines come in two typesquick-relief and long-term control. Quick-relief medicines control the symptoms of an asthma attack. If you need to use your quick-relief medicines more and more, visit your doctor to see if you need a different medicine. Long-term control medicines help you have fewer and milder attacks, but they dont help you while you are having an asthma attack.
Asthma medicines can have side effects, but most side effects are mild and soon go away. Ask your doctor about the side effects of your medicines.
Remember you can control your asthma. With your doctors help, make your own asthma action plan. Decide who should have a copy of your plan and where he or she should keep it. Take your long-term control medicine even when you dont have symptoms.
Can Occupational Asthma Be Reversed
Occupational asthma cannot be permanently reversed. Once, you develop a sensitivity to a substance, even miniature amounts of that substance can trigger your asthma symptoms, despite you wearing a mask or respirator. It is of utmost importance to prevent an asthma attack by identifying the triggers and staying away from them. The main aim of the treatment is to thwart symptoms and arrest an asthma attack in progress.
The occupational asthma treatment approach may consist of several medications, along with the primary aim of prevention.
The primary focus of occupational treatment is to avoid any contact with the trigger- substance at work. That said, once you develop a sensitivity to any substance, it is more than likely that even miniature amounts of that substance would trigger your asthma when you get subjected to it. This is possible even if you take precautionary measures like wearing a mask or a respirator.
The treatment focuses on avoiding symptoms and thwarting any asthma attack in progress. Medications may also be a part of a successful treatment plan. Medications are usually the same for all kinds of asthma. Also, the medication prescribed for you would largely depend upon many factors like your age, symptoms, other underlying conditions and the medication you respond best to. The medicines may consist of
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Conditions That Make Asthma Worse
There are also other conditions that can make asthma worse, including gastroesophageal reflux disease, obstructive sleep apnea, vocal cord disorders , smoking, anxiety or depression, allergic rhinitis/sinusitis, nasal polyps, menstruation and bronchiectasis . These other conditions are called comorbidities.
What Are The Differences Between Mild
Patients who have mild-to-moderate asthma can generally control their disease with commonly prescribed medications. But patients with more severe illness, who are on high doses of medications including oral corticosteroids, still may find themselves visiting hospital emergency rooms because of an asthma attack and unable to control their disease. They may find that they have to typically adjust their daily lives, be it missing work, missing school, or not participating in physical activities. The asthma attacks experienced by patients with Severe Asthma may even result in death.
Patients with Severe Asthma are more reliant on their asthma medications. A cross-Canada survey conducted by Asthma Canada looking at the impact of Severe Asthma found that the majority of respondents said they use their controller medication once a day, and about seven out of every 10 said they use it at least twice a day. A significant portion of respondents with Severe Asthma said they use their reliever medication once a day, and 28.8% said they use it at least twice daily.
One of the other differences between mild-to-moderate asthma and Severe Asthma is that patients with severe disease are more likely to have co-morbidities or co-existing medical conditions. These include obesity, obstructive sleep apnea, and gastroesophageal reflux disease .
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Why Are Asthma Cases Rising
The total number of asthma cases is on the risethe American Thoracic Society estimates the number of Americans with asthma will grow 10% by 2039. That means asthma is also a serious public health issue, and one study projects that uncontrolled asthma could cost the U.S. health system around $300 billion in that timeframe5.
Scientists dont know for sure why asthma rates are increasing, but its thought that increased urbanization, lifestyle changes, and even growing rates of obesity could play a role.
When To See A Gp
See a GP if you think you or your child may have asthma.
Several conditions can cause similar symptoms, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis and correct treatment.
The GP will usually be able to diagnose asthma by asking about symptoms and carrying out some simple tests.
Find out more about how asthma is diagnosed.
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What Are Common Asthma Attack Triggers
An asthma attack happens when someone comes in contact with substances that irritate them. Healthcare providers call these substances triggers. Knowing what triggers your asthma makes it easier to avoid asthma attacks.
For some people, a trigger can bring on an attack right away. Sometimes, an attack may start hours or days later.
Triggers can be different for each person. But some common triggers include:
- Air pollution: Many things outside can cause an asthma attack. Air pollution includes factory emissions, car exhaust, wildfire smoke and more.
- Dust mites: You cant see these bugs, but they are in many homes. If you have a dust mite allergy, they can cause an asthma attack.
- Exercise: For some people, exercising can cause an attack.
- Mold: Damp places can spawn mold. It can cause problems for people with asthma. You dont even have to be allergic to mold to have an attack.
- Pests: Cockroaches, mice and other household pests can cause asthma attacks.
- Pets: Your pets can cause asthma attacks. If youre allergic to pet dander , breathing in the dander can irritate your airways.
- Tobacco smoke: If you or someone in your home smokes, you have a higher risk of developing asthma. The best solution is to quit smoking.
- Strong chemicals or smells.
With asthma, you may not have all of these symptoms. You may have different signs at different times. And symptoms can change between asthma attacks.
How Many People Live With Severe Uncontrolled Asthma
Around 5%10% of asthma cases are diagnosed as severe. About 20%50% of those are considered to have severe, uncontrolled asthma, which means they are unable to effectively control their condition with currently available medications. Its estimated that about 1 million people in the U.S. and about 2.5 million people globally live with severe, uncontrolled asthma3,4.
“Asthma is among the most common chronic diseases in the world, says Darryl Sleep, M.D., senior vice president, Global Medical, and chief medical officer at Amgen. And those living with severe, uncontrolled asthma continue to face significant unmet needs.
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